DC Water names Robert Bornhofen to head up innovation program

July 13, 2021
DC Water today announced the hiring of Robert Bornhofen as Director of Innovation, a newly created position to spearhead the Authority’s innovation program.  
In conceiving the position, DC Water’s CEO and General Manager David L. Gadis envisioned a creative leader with a proven track record. “We performed a national search to find someone with the mindset to foster an enterprise-wide culture of innovation while also implementing an innovation operating model and roadmap to guide the journey from idea intake to execution. DC Water’s success in providing world-class service is not just about getting the ‘blocking and tackling’ right. It also requires a culture of innovation,” said Gadis.
“Mr. Bornhofen is the perfect candidate to drive this effort on behalf of the organization. He has a steep history of leading innovation efforts at some of the world’s leading companies including IBM, Citibank, and Delta Air Lines. He combines this with a passion for education and mentoring, teaching part-time at Cornell University and the University of Maryland.”
Bornhofen will be tasked with program and strategy development and delivery, oversight of research and idea capture, key stakeholder engagement, partnerships, value creation, delivery, communication and workforce engagement, and innovation sustainability. He will work closely with all DC Water’s business functions and with Blue Drop, LLC, the entity created to turn creative ideas into non-ratepayer revenue to offset rate increases.

As a dynamic innovation leader, Bornhofen brings hands-on experience in leading organizations toward realizing innovation goals. His career spans over 20 years across a broad mix of industry experience involving both large and small companies.
In Bornhofen’s previous post at IBM, he led the formulation and development of strategy for IBM Enterprise Services. He conducted Innovation Challenge events involving more than 8,000 IBM employees worldwide and built an innovation pipeline of ideas through crowdsourcing.
“Innovation is about making a positive impact that delivers value to customers,” says Bornhofen. “It’s about solving key problems and acting on opportunities with creative ideas. I am honored to be in this role, and to help formulate and implement strategy that leads to innovative solutions consistent with DC Water’s vision, mission, and core values.”
Bornhofen earned a Doctoral degree from the University of Maryland, a Master of Science degree from Colorado State University, and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Minnesota. He holds two U.S. patents for original and patentable technologies.
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